There is a need to evolve local solutions for local problems: ARAI Chief

Manasi Saraf Joshi
Tuesday, 5 June 2018

On the occasion of World Environment Day, Rashmi Urdhwareshe, Director of Automotive Research Association of India, spoke to Manasi Saraf Joshi regarding the change in the automotive sector and about the future trends in automotive technologies

What is the current scenario in the Indian auto industry?
India is required to simultaneously handle multiple issues so that desired results are achieved.
- Migration of new vehicles to Bharat Stage Vehicle I is expected to reduce emission inventory from a new fleet
- Penetration of electric vehicles will accelerate this effect
- Tightening the control over in-use vehicles (by way of fleet modernisation, conversion to green technologies and tight I&C centres, etc)
- Deploying alternate and green fuels

How can we achieve fuel and energy management?
India has abundant solar energy. Technology development for diverting it efficiently to transportation sector should be taken up on priority. Also, an integrated approach towards establishing efficient transportation (rather than only focusing on road transport) has already been recommended to the Government. Effective use of Intelligent Transport System and Internet Of Things would bring in substantial benefits. Also, there is a need to evolve local solutions for local problems. Metros, urban and rural transportation and energy management solutions would be quite different!
 
What are smart structure technologies?
Smart structure or system is an intelligent system capable of reacting to stimuli or the environment in a prescribed manner. Smart materials in this can perform – (a) as actuators, which can adapt to their environments by changing mechanical structural characteristics such as shape and stiffness, or (b) as sensors, which provide the actuators with information about structural and environmental changes. Its application could be for the optimised rate of inflation for airbag and improved crashworthiness, tyre pressure monitoring systems, seat cushioning actuators. Smart structure technology plays an important role in improving the safety, with the use of prognostic and diagnostic techniques.
 
Which are the five pillars that are focused upon in the mobility transportation?
The five pillars of road safety are engineering of vehicles, engineering of roads, enforcement, education and emergency handling. In UN decade of action, each country is supposed to develop and implement plans on these pillars.

What are the steps taken to fulfil the promises made at the global conference on traffic safety in Brazil to reduce road fatalities by 50 per cent by 2020?
The question is more relevant for government authorities. As far as ARAI is concerned, our contribution has been multi-fold. Some highlights are:
- Several new safety standards are approved and released by Automotive Industry Standards Committee, under the chairmanship of Director-ARAI. These standards cover enhancement of existing requirements as well as new norms to be implemented in near future. Improvement of vehicle construction to achieve occupant safety is a continual process.
- ARAI is actively engaged in scientific analysis of road accidents. Data based policy interventions and action plans are being evolved to address and mitigate road accidents.
- Several research projects are undertaken on the subject of active and passive safety. Advanced control systems and driver assistance mechanisms for steering, stability, lighting, braking, etc are developed and deployed in the vehicle designs.

What are the future trends in automotive technologies?
In context of environment, efforts are focused towards reducing the carbon footprint. Sustainability of transportation solutions is, therefore, the key. Shared mobility, efficient public transportation, green fuels will be future trends.

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